SCI Community Magazine

A Day in the Life… Featuring Therese Anne Sidler

Proud “cat lady”, Therese Anne Sidler is a Regional Services Co-ordinator (RSC) for SCIO, delivering services in the Peel/Dufferin area. She’s also the queen of cookies, delivering hand-baked goods to colleagues in Toronto as a way of raising funds for our Enhancing Independence Program. We caught up with Therese Anne to find out what inspired her to work at SCIO and to learn more about a day in her life…

How would you describe your role as a Regional Services Co-ordinator at SCIO?
My role is to assist our clients who are recovering from a spinal cord injury and to help them get back to the life they had before their injury or as close as possible. When I first meet with a client, we discuss their goals and needs, which can range from simple to complex. Every person is different and it is important to build trust at the beginning of their journey so that we will have a good working relationship. Some people will need to find housing or want to do home renovations, so we discuss options, finances and fill out housing applications. The sad fact of the matter is that affordable and accessible housing is very limited, it is a crisis situation for many of our clients and waitlists are 7+ years. Attendant care is needed for many clients and again there are waitlists and applications to be filled out. I can work with a client for as long as they have active goals, sometimes it can be a couple of months or as long as a year. Every day is different in my role as Regional Services Co-ordinator, which makes every day, week and month challenging and exciting.

When did you apply for this role and what made you apply?
I applied in September of 2008 and was hired to start that October. I applied because I was currently working with an agency and managing an outreach program in Toronto. I lived in Mississauga at the time and was looking for something closer to home. I was also getting very burnt out in a management position that I had been in for over 15 years. The role of RSC was very exciting and different and based on my years of working in the field with persons with a disability I felt that I had a lot of knowledge and skills to offer clients.

What do you love most about your career at SCIO?
I have been working in this field for 30 years now and I have to say SCIO has been one of the most positive organizations to work with. I am very happy and content in my current position as RSC, working one-on-one with clients to help them reach their potentials in their lives after sustaining a spinal cord injury.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is when you see clients smile again and talk about their future in a positive manner. They can cry and laugh but know that life does continue after a spinal cord injury, it is just now a different road (so to speak). Even helping out with the simplest task, clients are very appreciative of the work we do and that is rewarding in itself.

What does a day at work look like for you?
I am very fortunate to work out of a home office, which is on the 15th floor of my condo with a great view, so on many days I can, if need be, just wheel to my desk and get to work and not have to clean snow off my car or drive in bad weather. I will touch base with my co-worker, have our own coffee talk and get caught up with my e-mails, return calls and follow up with my clients on goals that we are working on: housing; equipment; financial issues; transportation; and the list goes on.

What would you say to someone who was considering a career at SCIO?
It is a very rewarding job! The people I work with and other employees of SCIO are very dedicated to help change the lives of individuals with a SCI to be more inclusive and independent in their community and society as a whole.

When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
I like to travel, I have gone on many road trips with my three sisters, I do most of the driving, as well as cruises. I am an avid reader and have collected many boxes of books, much to the dismay of people who have helped me move in the past. I am a bit of a home body, not into sports. I watch way too much TV! I have two cats (Bree and Buddy), my babies. Yes I’m a cat lady, and am ok with it. In the winter I have a scented candle burning many a night.

Do you have any hobbies?
My main hobby is baking and I have recently done a cookie fundraiser to help with SCIO’s Enhancing Independence Program to assist clients with obtaining equipment that they many need and not have access to funds. I’ve raised over $1,000 in the last two years.

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario | Winter 2020

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